“Put eight ounces of the best olive oil into a widemouthed bottle, add two ounces of the small parts of alkanet-root. Stop up the bottle, and set it in the sun; shake it often, until it be of a beautiful crimson. Now strain the oil off very clear from the roots, and add to it, in a glazed pipkin, three ounces of very fine white wax, and the same quantity of fresh clean mutton suet… Melt this by a slow fire, and perfume it when taken off, with forty drops of oil of rhodium, or of lavender.”
Mackenzie’s Five Thousand Receipts, 1829
“Take a pint of good Brandy, and infuse therein half an ounce of Gum Benjamin, an ounce of Red Sanders, and half an ounce of Brazil Wood, both in coarse powder, with half an ounce of Roch Alum. Cork the bottle tight, shake it well every day, and at the expiration of twelve days the Liquor will be fit for use. Lightly touch the cheeks with this Tincture, and it will scarcely be possible to perceive that rouge has been laid on, it will so nearly resemble the natural bloom.”
The Toilet of Flora, 1772
“One pint of alcohol, sixty drops of lavender, sixty drops of bergamot, sixty drops of essence of lemon, sixty drops of orange water. To be corked up, and well shaken. It is better for considerable age.”
The American Frugal Housewife, by Lydia Maria Child, 1833
“Take Storax, one part, Ladani one parte, cloues halfe a parte, Campher at your discretion, but lesse then of anye of the other substaunces, of Spikenarde a good quantite, and of Nutmegges also, of all this make paste with Rose water, in the whiche you shal temper Gomme dragant, and Gomme Arabike, sturringe and brusyng them well. Of this past you shall make balles to holde in your handes, and to smell to.”
- The secretes of the reuerende Maister Alexis of Piemount, 1558
The Herbal by John Gerard, 1633
Boyl Rosemary Flowers in White Wine, and wash your Face with the Liquor.
The Compleat Servant-Maid by Hannah Woolley, 1719
This would end up being a diluted version of the popular Hungary Water, thought to cure all sorts of ills (besides being a lovely perfume!). It wouldn’t hurt you, unless your skin is irritated by alcohol or rosemary.
To perfume gloves excellently, take oil of sweet almonds, oil of nutmegs, oil of benjamin, of each a dram, of ambergris one grain, fat musk two grains: mix them altogether and grind them upon a painter’s stone, and then anoint the gloves therewith: yet before you anoint them let them be dampishly moistened with damask rose-water.
The English Housewife by Gervase Markham, 1615
Perfumed gloves were very popular in the 17th, 18th, and into the 19th centuries. Recipes for perfuming them abound (and so do writers complaining of over-perfumed gloves!). Many include expensive ingredients like this one: ambergris and musk were expensive then, and today as well– if you can even find them! The other ingredients shouldn’t be hard to find; “benjamin” is an older term for benzoin gum, and nutmeg oil can either be essential oil of nutmegs, or you can steep nutmegs in some other oil.